Minister K.H. Muniyappa promises special trains for their return
For the first time since Wednesday, when the exodus of northeast communities began, the numbers dropped sharply on Saturday.
Minister of State for Railways K.H. Muniyappa assured that his ministry will arrange special trains from Guwahati to Bangalore to facilitate the return of the thousands who fled the city in the wake of mischievous rumours of impending, ethnically targeted attacks.
He was speaking to reporters after inaugurating a Horticultural Producers’ Co-Operative Marketing and Processing Society (HOMPCOMS) outlet between Platforms 7 and 8 at the City Railway Station here Saturday.
Earlier, Mr. Muniyappa interacted with some people from the northeast, who were preparing to leave for Assam, and urged them to stay back in Karnataka. He appealed to those who had already left to return and get back to their jobs and studies. “Assam is an integral part of India and people from the region have every right to live in any part of the country,” he said.
Commending the South Western Railway (SWR) and the State government for arranging special trains to cater to the unprecedented rush, the Minister noted that in all, eight special trains were operated during the last three days. This was besides three regular services to Guwahati.
He announced a cash prize of Rs. 2 lakh for the Bangalore Division of the SWR and Rs.1 lakh for the SWR zonal headquarters for rising to the occasion.
During the last three days, 151 coaches were attached to eight special trains. They were drawn from Bangalore Division, Mysore Division, Central Railway, Southern Railway besides sourcing new coaches from BEML, he said.
No special train
Meanwhile, the City Railway Station witnessed a thinning of crowds on Saturday.
Just a couple of hundreds of northeast people from the region were seen assembled at the entrance, hoping to get a special train.
The Bangalore-Guwahati Express runs only three days a week — from Wednesday to Friday and there was no service on Saturday. SWR officials said only 240 tickets were issued to Guwahati as of 6 p.m. and said they would not run any special train as of now. “We arrange trains on the basis of tickets sold and only if the numbers exceed 2,000 can we deploy a special train,” said a senior official.
However, the authorities directed those who had booked tickets to Guwahati to take the Yeshwantpur-Howrah Express, scheduled to leave the Yeshwantpur station on Saturday night saying they could proceed on their onward journey from there.